The Youth of Today
We have all heard it, “The youth of today…” fill in the blank, it has been said. The most common I hear is this: “The youth of today have no ambition”. People can talk all they want to about the youth of today, but all they are doing is just that, talking. In order for things to change, something must be done, something for Amarillo’s youth. When AAYC opened their doors many youth saw it as a place they could go to have fun and be safe. A place where they could go and learn something new and get to know other people who they may not have ever met.
I participated in several community service events at the AAYC in order to get into the program I wanted to for college, and I worked with several people who were there for other reasons. We were expected to respect each other and get along, which was not hard because when it came down to it, we were all kids needing something this program had to offer. These times taught me a lot about the other kids, some did not have access to food and some did not have goals once they got out of high school. I saw several occasions the staff making sure these kids had food and talking to them about college admissions. Looking back at it now, I am glad this program was able to go above an beyond for the kids that needed it.
The program I was most involved in as a teenager was the fencing program. I started in the program when I was in middle school and continued it as it changed into the AAYC program. The idea of fencing brings many ideas to mind: from using pickets and nails to the older form of fencing. The AAYC offers the modern Olympic style classes one night a week, but what most do not realize, it teaches you more than swordplay.
During my years in the program I was taught how to work in a team; relying on others and having others rely on me for our success. Even though fencing is an individual sport, having others there to support you and guide you is important, even if it is to hand you a bottle of water.
I learned what sportsmanship is about. In fencing you can loose over and over, and still move on to the elimination rounds. What I found unique about fencing is the level of respect that is asked win or loose. You salute each other and the referee each bout and you shake hands at the end. After a loss it was not uncommon for your opponent to coach you in what you should have done. I don’t know of any other sport where your opponent will help improve your skills.
As for ambition, I learned what it was going to take to succeed and I worked towards it. I was not aiming to be an Olympic level fencer, but rather someone who was enjoying something they loved.
Though I am no longer involved fully with the fencing program, its lessons will always stick with me. Think before you act, follow the rules or you will injure yourself, be there for your team and most of all work towards your goals. This program is here to serve the youth of Amarillo and guide them to being the best person that they can be. The AAYC has had an impact on my current life, leading me to currently working on my masters degree so I too can work with children who are needing someone that they know is there for them, just as I have seen this program do.